While organisations may be looking forward to getting back to business as usual, the coronavirus pandemic may result in some lasting changes for many employers. According to a YouGov poll of over 1,400 business travellers in the UK and six other European countries, 45 per cent responded that they expected to be taking fewer flights than they did prior to COVID-19.
In the UK specifically, 56 per cent of respondents said that they expected to continue to fly for work, but less frequently than before the pandemic. In addition, 4 per cent said that they expect to no longer take flights for work at all.
This potential reduction in business travel can be attributed to a number of different factors, including:
- Videoconferencing software—Remote work has made organisations and employees more comfortable with conducting operations using videoconferencing. In the UK, 56 per cent of those surveyed in the YouGov poll attributed a reduction in post-coronavirus flights to an increased use of this type of software.
Environmental impact—In September 2020, the UK’s climate assembly called for a tax to be levied on frequent flyers.
- Research published by Global Environmental Change showed that 1 per cent of the world’s population caused half of the entire aviation industry’s carbon emissions in 2018.
- Consistent productivity—Of the travelling UK employees surveyed, 60 per cent said that flying less during the pandemic has had no effect on their productivity. Twelve per cent said that they had actually become more productive.
- Reduced costs—Flying to business meetings is both time-consuming and costly. Employees travelling for work-related purposes may also lead to a number of additional expenses, such as lodging and meals.
- While an organisation may be able to save time and money by finding alternative methods for reaching overseas clients and partners, it’s also possible that getting on a plane may still be the best way to handle certain tasks. In addition, certain employees may still function best when conducting business face-to-face. For example, while 72 per cent of UK employees surveyed by YouGov said that flying less had had either no effect or a positive impact on their productivity, 28 per cent said that their productivity had decreased.
It’s important for all organisations to assess their own situations and operations regarding air travel in a post-coronavirus world. For more information, contact us today.